I loved the books- devoured them without sleeping in about 3 days, in fact- but I respect that other people didn't have that reaction. I believe I was absorbed so quickly because I felt really empathetic to Katniss and a little too invested in her budding friendship/ partnership/ relationship with Peeta. I realized so much about myself while reading about the journey of these two characters. Katniss had spent years as the responsible provider for her family. She closed off her emotions and own desires to stay stable enough to take care of others. In the process she became cold, unfeeling, and pessimistic. When she was thrust in the ring of the Hunger Games, where she is pressured to kill 23 other teenagers to earn her own survival, she finds an unusual ally in a boy from her district, Peeta. Peeta is caring, thoughtful, observant, skilled, strong, and willing to sacrifice his pride for the greater good. Katniss hadn't met anyone like that before in her dog-eat-dog world, and it takes her a long time to trust this boy who endlessly proves that he is willing to die for her survival because he simply believes it's the best thing to do.
I'm not throwing myself a pity party or anything, but I feel a lot like Katniss. I put a lot of pressure on myself as a child to be perfect, responsible, and trustworthy. When my parents divorced I wanted to take care of each of them, and spent years afterward trying to be the perfect child that would prove each had been a good parent. As an adult I've traveled the world to dedicate my life to service, because that is what "good" people do. This was nobody's fault, I simply developed an anxious attitude where I felt the weight of my family and the world on my shoulders.
Ben has been my Peeta. I was resistant at first- very resistant- but I eventually came to understand his motives and appreciate his help. I now feel so utterly helpless and out-of-control of my own life that I relish the blessing of leaving the responsibility to someone else who is extremely capable, intelligent, righteous, and unjudgemental simply because he loves me.
I have said many times, and will continue to admit, that I had no idea how lucky I was when Ben and I got married. I knew I loved him, but not much else at that point. I am so glad that he had the foresight to nurture our relationship when I hesitated, and grateful that he has loved and stood by me as I struggled to turn my pride and life over to someone else. Marrying him was the best accident that ever happened to me :)
My anniversary gift to Ben was making this 2x3 ft. picture in our dining room.
This had been a blank wall after we took some art about Eleanor down,
and the German chair my parents picked out and carted around from Germany for me had been piled high with electronics we are waiting to sell. The blank wall was driving me crazy, the messy chair was driving Ben crazy, so I used this tutorial to turn a photo of us in Norway into wall art (in 1 hr. and for $9!) and put all of the stuff in different closets :)
Ben's gift to me was encouraging me to dress up for a surprise dinner at a restaurant I drive by almost every day and have been dying to try, the French-inspired PrintWorks Bistro.
The food was moderately expensive, but so beautiful and delicious! We don't treat ourselves to expensive meals very often, but this one was worth it :)
French bread with salted butter and a roasted garlic were brought out with our drinks (Is it fancy to serve water without ice? Where was our ice?) , then my meal was Steak Frites in a garlic sauce with homemade fries and Ben's was local trout with buttered mashed potatoes. We ordered creme filled beignets for desert :)
This place is so gorgeous! It is behind the modern luxurious Proximity Hotel, so we walked through the lobby and lounge to get to the restaurant. The restaurant is so uniquely themed and beautiful, words just can't describe it! Even the outdoor seating area was perfect and beautiful, interspersed with trees and hanging lights with big white blooms :)
Ben couldn't resist the opportunity to get a picture of the baby bump on our anniversary at 24 weeks!
Happy anniversary, honey! This was one to remember!